How to Write a Horror Movie Script

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When writing a horror film, it's important to understand the conventions of horror films, such as starting off with a hook or a bang. Find out how to create flaws and fear in a horror movie with filmmaking tips from a director and filmmaker in this free video on making movies.

Part of the Video Series: Filmmaking Basics
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Jared Drake and I'm going to talk to you about a horror script. Horror films tend to follow conventions. There's certain parts of this genre that are expected when writing a horror script. Once you know these things you can always go off and do your own thing and try to make it something unique and special to you and the story you are trying to tell. But it is important to at least be aware of what is expected in most horror films. Step one is you got to have a hook, meaning start it off with a bang. Have a scene where something crazy, totally suspenseful, something massive happens right off the bat. The opening scene just to get people hooked and set the tone to what's to come. Step two is the flaw, your main character has to have some type of flaw to make us care about him. Step three you have to set up the fear that the main character has. Is there something within him that he's afraid of that's ultimately going to relate to what's going on in the film later on. step four, is the idea of no escape you know the hotel in shining or you know the cabin any of those cabin horror films, the idea that you are stuck in one location and you can't escape unless you somehow overcome the evil that's taking place in a film. Step five, is foreplay meaning tease the audience a bit you know, get them on the edge of their seat you know make them jump at times. Step six is the evil attacks step, meaning take your evil element whatever it is and show just how evil it is, show how it eats little babies or is completely merciless. Make that thing as evil and as unsympathetic as you possibly can. Step seven is the investigation, that's where your main character based off the circumstances he's stuck in, investigates and learns something new about the evil and how it operates. Step eight is the showdown between the evil monster or the evilness or whatever the spirit and the main character and that's where the main character has not only overcome the evil that's in the movie but also his fear. And so step nine is the aftermath which you know it is the main character, everything is back to normal how it was in the beginning but know the main character is stronger as a person because he's overcome this evil and he's stepped up to his fears. But before it ends you have step ten, which is the evil lurks. Maybe the thing's not quite dead and you show that it could be coming back or maybe the thing actually had a baby right as it was killed and nobody saw it except for us the viewer, so we know that hey there could be a sequel to this sucker and it's not over yet.


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